Flights to New Zealand
Have you always wanted to visit New Zealand? It’s time to turn your travel dreams into beautiful reality. Whether you visit the wondrous North Island, the splendid South Island or both, there’s a lot to do in this spectacular country. Read on for our ideas about what to see and where to go in New Zealand.
Known also by its Maori name Aotearoa, New Zealand is loved for its legendary scenery, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime adventures that are easily enjoyed within the beautiful landscapes. On your New Zealand trip, there’s the potential to discover a chain of alps 550 kilometres long, a crater lake the size of a small country, four active volcanoes, fourteen ice-carved fiords, around 40,000 square kilometres of native forest and a lifetime supply of perfect beaches. For nature-loving visitors, New Zealand travel has a bit of everything.
Things to do in North Island destinations
Islands and beaches near Auckland
Your Air New Zealand flight will land you in Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’ and the country’s largest city. From the top of the Sky Tower, the scenery is breathtaking. Looking along the harbour you’ll see the dark, symmetrical shape of Rangitoto, a volcanic island that exploded into view around 600 years ago. Further out, in the Hauraki Gulf, islands beckon for sailing and day trips.
Rotorua and Taupo excel at keeping travellers entertained. The natural attractions here are geothermal parks, where you can see bubbling mud pools, fumaroles, geysers and huge boiling craters.
From downtown Auckland, you can catch a ferry to Waiheke Island for wine touring, Tiritiri Matangi for bird watching or Rangitoto for an awesome summit walk. Closer at hand is pretty Devonport, a seaside village built during Edwardian times. If you’re staying in Auckland for a few days, take a tour to Muriwai on the west coast – a dramatically beautiful beach with a fascinating gannet colony. In the evening, Auckland’s excellent food scene will introduce you to creative Pacific Rim cuisine that makes the most of New Zealand’s high-quality ingredients.
Irresistible attractions in Waikato, Rotorua and Taupo
Two hours south of Auckland is the Waikato region, known for riverboat trips, farm tours and amazing limestone formations at Waitomo Caves. This is also where you can tour picture-perfect Hobbiton, the Middle-earth village built for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
Rotorua and Taupo are lakeside destinations that excel at keeping travellers entertained. The natural attractions here are geothermal parks, where you can see bubbling mud pools, fumaroles, geysers and huge boiling craters. Other things to do include family attractions like the Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre, Mt Ngongotaha gondola and luge rides, as well as Maori culture shows at Tamaki Maori Village.
Culture and wildlife in Wellington
Wellington is another North Island destination we think you’ll love. As New Zealand’s capital city, it’s packed with places of importance – Te Papa museum, art galleries and historic sites. Wellington also has wonderful walk-around wildlife experience called Zealandia, as well as a working funicular railway (cable car) built in 1898. If you’re fascinated by Peter Jackson’s movies, make sure you visit the Weta Cave.
Things to do in South Island destinations
Living the good life in Canterbury
Air New Zealand can fly you non-stop from Auckland to Christchurch, a heritage city with glorious gardens. Here you can glide through Hagley Park on a relaxing, eco-friendly punt-boat tour, visit the French colonial township of Akaroa or see what happens on a working sheep farm.
After admiring the exquisite Church of the Good Shepherd you’ll want to relax at Tekapo Springs hot pools, which look out across the lake to the majestic Southern Alps.
From Christchurch, you can journey north to the Waipara wine region, the spas of Hanmer Springs and cruises that take you to see Kaikoura whales. Imagine the amazing scene of a giant whale tail slapping on the water against a backdrop of tall mountains. It’s totally surreal.
High times in Mount Cook and Queenstown
Christchurch is also the gateway to the magnificent Mount Cook National Park and the Mackenzie region. Lake Tekapo is a highlight of this alpine area. After walking around the lake and admiring the exquisite Church of the Good Shepherd you’ll want to relax at Tekapo Springs hot pools, which look out across the lake to the majestic Southern Alps.
A South Island discovery trip wouldn’t be complete without Queenstown, a world-famous alpine resort town that has fun on its mind all year round. In winter and early spring, you can ski in a choice of snow areas. In summer and autumn, bike trails and walking tracks let you explore the extraordinary landscape. As the weeks get closer to winter, the trees put on a show of colours. In any season you can take a lake cruise, go up the Queenstown gondola and chase thrills on a jet boating trip.
From Queenstown it’s easy to drive, catch a coach tour or fly to Milford Sound in Fiordland, where a cruise will take you to glacier-cut valleys half-filled with deep green water, cascading waterfalls and ancient forest. It’s like the land that time forgot.
Best time to visit New Zealand
When you’re researching fun things to do in New Zealand, it’s good to understand the weather patterns.
- The climate in the north of the North Island is subtropical; the rest of the country has a temperate climate, although Mount Cook and Queenstown have the kind of temperature extremes usually associated with a continental climate.
- The warmest months are December, January and February; the coldest months are June, July and August.
- For most parts of the country, daytime temperatures range between 20-30ºC in summer and between 10-15ºC in winter. Alpine areas, predictably, have much lower temperatures during the winter months.
What to pack for New Zealand sightseeing
In summer, a light jacket or sweater should be included in your luggage, in case the weather turns cool or you visit higher altitudes. At all times of the year, bring a light rainproof jacket or coat. If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand between May and September, pack lots of extra layers and a weather-proof coat or jacket.